Mr. Chairman/Madame Chair,

The objectives of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to further understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples across cultures and religions are particularly relevant today.

Finland has actively participated in the Alliance’s forums, other conferences and events. Our president Tarja Halonen has attended the forums in Madrid and Istanbul. We support the Alliance and have covered funding for youth solidarity actions in Africa.

We are grateful for the recent visit of the High Representative Jorge Sampaio to Finland, which greatly enhanced the knowledge and understanding of various audiences in Finland. We hope that the visit gave the High Representative a broad-based opportunity to learn of the concrete Finnish actions in order to achieve the objectives of the Alliance.

The UNAOC Regional Mediterranean Strategy and action plan frame were approved last year in Malta. The recent developments in the Arab countries have made the need for the implementation urgent and even more necessary. Finland is considering of supporting the UNAOC Dialogue Cafe program in the region.

I wish to congratulate you, Mr. High Representative, for your Fourth Annual Report and its conclusions. The five priority areas give the Alliance a relevant outline of actions for the coming years. We welcome in particular the focus on the Doha Forum to explore the linkage between the UNAOC agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.


I believe that there is a need to improve the UNAOC voluntary financing scheme. A more predictable financing scheme is required. The proposal of the formation of the Partners’ Assembly is an interesting plan. The plan could benefit from further consultations with prospective partners before final decisions.

To conclude, I firmly believe that the UNAOC’s legitimacy and impact would be further increased by even more active multistakeholder collaboration as well as cooperation with the civil society, the research community and the corporate sector.

I thank you.